Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small Town Kindness

So, grocery stores might be a tad difficult, but it turns out that there are some perks to being part of a small community. I used to work at a big place. A place that was so big that it didn't faze anyone to put a plate of lettuce in front of me and call it a meal even though everyone else was eating breads and meats and sides and desserts. 

Here, however, things are different. I'm not sure if it is because I'm now part of a very small work community or if it is just because moms here come with some very strong programming that requires them to offer rich food to everyone they meet. I was fully prepared for a lettuce-fest or to eat one of my Kind bars for lunch during my training, when the woman who runs our cafeteria came out and handed me a specially made sandwich on gluten-free bread (with homemade garlic-guacamole spread!). The next day at training was even more impressive - this time the cafeteria made gluten-free vegetarian pasta salad as a regular menu item for everyone to eat. Not a tiny plop of food for me, but food for EVERYONE that was based on MY needs. And they brought me out a special, toasty warm bun so I could eat what everyone else was eating. Minnesota NIIIIICE! No employer has ever made such a sweeping gesture to ensure that I had food to eat, or that my food was satisfying. 

During lunch yesterday, I felt so welcomed and valued in my new community. I wasn't an afterthought to be handed some naked* iceberg and pushed out of the way, but I was someone who warranted advanced planning and preparation and menu adjustment! I tracked down the cafeteria lady and practically professed my undying love for her. Food can be a powerful tool and I don't think most people stop shoveling it in their mouths long enough to realize it. Value your food and what it means to who you are and how you connect with people. Accommodating others is a very personal way to show that you care about them. 

Maybe I'll be okay here after all!

*Naked salad is how I refer to the unfortunate situation when the raw vegetables pass the glutard test, but none of the dressings do. Raw vegetables a lunch do not make, unless anorexic you are. More than one food group per meal, please.**

**Unless it is a block of Dubliner cheese. Then one food group is plenty. 

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